When: Columbia Borough school board meeting, May 5.
What happened: During a meeting held remotely on Zoom, the board reviewed recent changes to the district’s proposed $27.13 million general fund budget for the 2020-21 school year. Although the district expects a 3.6% drop in overall revenue, there will be no tax increase.
Real estate tax: The school district’s real estate tax rate will remain at 26.46 mills. Taxpayers with an average assessed property would pay $2,470 in taxes.
Background: Earlier this year, the district had projected revenues of $27.06 million in 2020-21, up 1.94% from 2019-20, and predicted $27.13 million in expenses, up 1.94%. However, the district has since revised its budget to reflect the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on next school year’s revenues, said Keith Ramsey, chief of finance and operations.
Why it’s important: Ramsey said, since the initial proposal, revenue projections for 2020-21 have dropped over $900,000 to $26.09 million, down 1.73%, while expenses remain at $27.13 million. Because of the 3.6% loss in revenues, the district will face a $1.04 million deficit between revenues and expenses. Surplus funds from the current school year will be used to cover this deficit, Ramsey said.
Revenues: According to the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, the district will experience a $551,277 to $688,574 loss in local revenue, down 4.37% to 5.46% from initial estimates, because of a spike in the unemployment rate. In total, Ramsey said, the district should expect a noticeable decrease in real estate taxes, down 2.25% from initial estimates; interim taxes, down 50%; earned income taxes, down 17.5%; real estate transfer taxes, down 40%; delinquent taxes, down 35%; and interest income, down 80%.
What’s next: The district expects to adopt a proposed final budget May 7 and a final budget in June.